Art in the “media era”. Interview with Mark Kostabi

Mark Kostabi is a versatile artist: painter, sculptor, musician. Always aware of present time trends, he lives between Rome and New York and his art talks about contemporary men’s condition. A male avatar, precisely a little white man without a face, gives the idea of what is happening to us. A market blockbuster, first in the states and now also in Italy, he continues his artistic research like a child always surprised of what surrounds him, always curious and ready to catch novelty and nu-ances.We interviewed him inside a Taxi, from Parioli to Via Pellegrino, the day before his winter depar-ture for NY. What we’ve asked him for this issue of ES is his relationship with media.

In your work you often touched the relationship between contemporary men and media, how you see your art in the “media era”?
Back in the ‘60s, when I used to draw with pencil and paper, I liked to represent the technologi-cal world, computer sci-fi; today I keep drawing media icons and, especially, I use media to create my art. For example I make my drafts in my stu-dio in Rome, then I send them via e-mail to New York, where I get them painted by my staff and every day I can check their realization and quality through the Internet. It’s a while now I have my own game show on Tv, called “name this” during which I give titles to my work through critics and a celebrities jury. The show goes on air form the Kostabi Palace in New York, but I am in my studio in Rome and you can watch it on line. In the end, for what concerns my music I often use MySpace, especially to distribute it, and it seems to work fine.
We know you are an expert of art in general. How do you evaluate the influence of new media on artistic production? And do you see any differ-ence between United States and Italy about it?
To this question I like to answer with a joke: a gallery director, friend of mine, says Italy is far in delay for what concerns the Internet, but speak-ing of selling art on Tv, the States are in big delay. Moreover I can tell you that Estonia, from where my parents are, is strangely considered very ahead in the filed of technology, so??
Art itself has always communicated its messages through different languages. At the moment some environments like virtual reality offer vari-ous communicative possibilities, that suit our contemporary time. What do you think of these possibilities? And can you tell us about your expe-rience in entropia?
I’ve been in entropia, in New Oxford, for a while, now. There you can find and buy my virtual paintings, but at the moment I don’t dedicate much time to that. I’m in any case interested in what can happen in virtual worlds and would like to work more in that direction.
Mark, which are the project you are working on at the moment?
First of all, thanks to my brother Paul, we’ve moved the Kostabi Palace form Soho to Chelsea, a new studio that will require a lot of energy for its start up. For what concerns exhibits going on right now, here they are: in Legnano, near Verona, in the exhibit space inside Ferrarini bookshop; in Bologna we have an exhibit called “It’s a wonder-ful Kostabi”; eventually, I will expose my works also in San Francisco, California, and soon I’ll have an exhibit in New York that I am preparing with my gallery director.

We leave Mark preparing his journey, but we make him promise to drop by our seat and to do, to-gether with ES, an exhibit in SL. And, who knows, maybe we’ll see his avatar without face performing in his famous show.

If you want see the Mark Kostabi's paintings
This article is published in ESSENSUAL N.01 review by arco Rosca

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